Eloping in the Black Hills of South Dakota | Everything You Need To Know


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With all of the beautiful locations of South Dakota have you ever considered eloping in the Black Hills? The Black Hills of South Dakota has some of the most beautiful backdrops and views on earth! The best part is that means there is no shortage of options of locations to elope from. All in all, this location is perfect for a small destination wedding or elopement!

Ready to learn all the ins and outs of what it would look like to elope in the Black Hills? Don’t go anywhere and keep scrolling for all the details!

Eloping in the Black Hills of South Dakota | Everything You Need To Know

Why Eloping In The Black Hills Is So Perfect!

Eloping in the Black Hills of South Dakota is so perfect for so many reasons! The views, the intimacy, the adventure and the story! All of these play a role into the overall experience of what your elopement could look like here and how special it can be.

The best part is that eloping in the Black Hills can look so different for each couple. You can choose to do it near a lake or reservoir! Or you can decide that eloping in front of the rolling hills is the best option. The options are endless! My recommendation is to start by looking at the hiking trails and scenery around the Black Hills National Forest. Black Hills National Forest is like an “Island in the Plains.” It is perfect for anyone! Don’t forget that getting married in public places still have fees and can still take time to plan and coordinate.

Licensing Process

If you are wanting to elope in the Black Hills, then you need to make the legality a top priority! Getting married in South Dakota is similar to other states. You will need permits, licenses, two witnesses, an officiant and pay fees to legally say “I Do!”

As stated on the South Dakota Marriage Requirements Department of Health website, the cost of a marriage license is $40. If you would like to see more information on the worksheet, timeline on making it official and type of payment that is required check it out HERE!

Permit Process

The Office of Black Hills National Park says,

“In general, if there are 75 or more people coming to your wedding (this includes the Bride, the Groom, the presiding official, and everyone in the wedding party, as well as guests) it will require a non-commercial group use permit – and that is free.
If you want to have an event (wedding, reunion etc.) in one of our developed recreation areas (like a campground or picnic area) you will need to speak to someone from Forest Recreation Management before planning the event, for permission to use their facility. Be mindful that there are campgrounds/picnic areas around the Black Hills that do not belong to us.
Wilderness groups are limited to 25 heartbeats (including people, horses, livestock, dogs etc.).  If you wanted to marry in the Black Elk Wilderness or Norbeck Wilderness Area, you are limited to 25 and NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES are permitted. Everyone would have to hike in. There are no changing areas, staging areas, etc. Pack it in, pack it out, and leave no trace applies.
If you were charging fees or there was any other exchange of money for attending an event (examples: a nature walk, or a guided hike), it turns into a recreation event permit – which is not free.”

All in all, I would recommend reaching out to the permit team of The Black Hills prior to sending out any official invites to solidify all the details and come to the conclusion on exactly what you need to pay to be able to proceed with having your elopement here.

Photography Permit Process

Additionally, according to the Black Hills National Forest, it is required to have a permit for commercial photography. This fee starts at a minimum of $100-200. It can be more dependent on how many people are attending your elopement. Check out the full details on the permit that is required, HERE.

It is SO important to remember that eloping doesn’t get rid of the important details of a traditional wedding. You must be diligent on getting all of these steps taken care of as timely as needed!

You Can’t Go Wrong With Eloping Here!

There are so many ways to make your Black Hills elopement special and I would love to help you through this process of planning your perfect day. With all the legality steps taken care of and out of the way make sure to focus on the elements of your day that would make YOU happy and feel special.

All of the beautiful sceneries, backdrops and locations mean that your wedding or elopement day will be very unique to what you want. And I can’t wait to see what you decide!

Here’s a glimpse into what your elopement could look like in The Black Hills:

Ready to Elope In The Black Hills of South Dakota?

I would love to be a part of your day and capture your love! Fill out my contact form and we can start planning your special day in The Black Hills together!

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